What is minimalist travel?
To begin with, here is a short conversation I had with my friend a few months ago regarding her recent three day solo trip to Delhi.
Me: “Hey! How was the trip?”
Friend: “To be honest, it was quite chaotic!”
Me: “What happened?”
Friend: “I spent an entire day packing my bags and they were so bulky that the zipper of my duffle bag broke halfway through the journey and I had to spend an extra 2 hours fixing it and repacking all over again!
Me: “Oh gosh! How many bags did you carry?”
Friend: “One backpack and two duffle bags.”
Me: “Wow! That’s a lot! Well anyway, I hope you managed to cover many places?”
Friend: “Not really…the bags were too heavy and I was so exhausted that I spent the whole of the first day in bed. Moreover, when the zipper broke, I think I dropped my G-Shock watch and I spent the entire half of the second day frantically sorting through my bags. On the whole, it was a terrible trip and I only managed to cover less than half of the places on my list…”
Minimalist travel has no precise definition. It is an art, a mindset which can be cultivated by understanding the difference between “what you want” and “what you need”.
However, different people may perceive the term ‘minimalist travel’ in different ways. For example, one group of people may consider ‘packing light’ to be a minimalist way of traveling. On the other hand, another group of people may consider minimalist travel to be ‘the ability of an individual to carry a certain amount of luggage such that it causes him/her the least or no discomfort or delay.’
In case of the former, ‘packing light’ may involve packing nothing more than the most basic items required for one’s daily needs. However, in the case of the latter, the minimalist travel mindset may vary across individuals and may solely depend upon his/her tolerance and ability to carry load with the utmost comfort and ease. The packing in this case, although not light for some individuals may be comfortable and bearable for others.
Embracing the Minimalist Travel mindset
To become a minimalist traveler, it is important to first become a minimalist yourself. However, do not be mistaken. Becoming minimalist does not in any way mean depriving yourself of the daily pleasures of life. You can still wear that beautiful floral wrap dress that caught your eye at Marks & Spencers, or for instance that dazzling diamond studded necklace you just paid a fortune for!
In the actual sense, becoming minimalist means adopting a lifestyle that is simple and self sufficient, yet not self depriving. Drawing a fine line between ‘what you really want’ and what you really need’ is the key to living a minimalist life.
Here are 4 simple ways in which you can adopt a minimalist mindset:
- Realising your limits and sticking to them
- Avoiding unnecessary clutter
- Curbing your desire for excess (This can be anything ranging from shopping to eating)
- Being self satisfied by living simply and being happy with what you have
Once you adopt a minimalist lifestyle, becoming a minimalist traveler can be easy.
Here are 4 simple ways in which you can adopt a minimalist travel mindset:
- Buying a compact, durable and lightweight travel bag (preferably a backpack with multiple compartments)
- Making two separate lists: the first one consisting of the most basic items of everyday use and the second one consisting of personal possessions that you would not necessarily need but would nevertheless desire to take with you on your trip
- Prioritising items to carry by packing according to the season and occasion
- Buying a waterproof multipurpose jacket having multiple pockets which is convenient to be worn in any season
What ‘to’ carry and What ‘not to’ carry while traveling minimal
Following are the list of things that you need to carry irrespective of when and where you travel:
- A box/ pouch containing all your essential toiletries and sanitary items
- A first aid kit with all your essential medication
- One pair of durable sport shoes and sandals
- Snacks and treats to eat on the way
- At least one bottle of water
- A stainless steel thermos flask to have a hot cup of coffee on the go
- At least 1 pair of nightwear (mostly depends on the duration of your trip)
- 1 pair of Jeans
- A hat/ cap
- An eye mask to get sound sleep
- A novel to keep you company during your journey (especially if you are traveling solo)
- Laptop and charger
- Your phone and charger
- A fully charged battery pack
- A camera (provided they are small and don’t take up much space)
Also, don’t forget your passport and ticket if you’re traveling abroad! It does seem silly to mention. However, there have been several cases of people missing their flights upon forgetting their passport/ ticket at home!
Here are a list of things that you must avoid carrying with you if you want to avoid a difficult journey:
- Extra clothes which are totally out of season (eg: carrying shorts/ swimsuit during winter)
- Overloading your bag with excess food (especially those which are likely to go bad if not eaten within a single day)
- Extra shoes (although they are nice and happen to be your favourite, avoid unless absolutely necessary)
- Too much jewellery/ makeup
- Extra jackets (One warm jacket with multiple pockets would suffice)
- Heavy camera lenses (remember…we exist in a generation where smartphone cameras are in par with the DSLRs!)
- More than one pair of jeans (since jeans can be used without washing for several days, they are trendy and never tend to go out of fashion!)
- Extra books to read (since completing a single novel would be a hard task when on vacation!)
In order to travel far, you need to travel smart. Imagine the world as seen through the lens of your eyes and not through the lens of your camera. It is important to remember that becoming a minimalist traveler is not confined to the material possessions that you must or must not carry, rather it means living in the moment, living enthusiastically and investing in personal experiences while traveling.
Changing your mindset will automatically change your life!
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